Darren Anderton’s famous injury record earned him the nickname “Sicknote” but who are the most injury-prone players of recent English history?
In goal for the England’s Most Injured starting 11 is Chris Kirkland. The former Reds keeper managed to crock his ankle, collarbone, back, finger, and pick up a string of nasty concussions. Billed as England’s future No 1, Kirkland’s career was somewhat hampered by his time out.
Next up is former Manchester United defender Wes Brown who also looked to have a bright future with England. Sir Alex Ferguson gushed about the player as a youngster pointing to him as the ‘best natural defender this club has had for years’.
Unfortunately Brown’s performances proved to be inconsistent as he struggled to find form due to his injuries, which included his metatarsal, Achilles, knee, and ankle. Gary Neville gets a discreet nod due to his injuries but, given the length and success of his career for both Manchester United and England, his place in this team is tenuous, as, luckily for him, his injuries never overshadowed his talent.
No injury list would be complete without the mention of the former Tottenham duo Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King who, between them, spent more time with the physios than their teammates during their torrid times at Spurs.
King, although technically Spurs’ most dominant defender, curtailed his career at the end of last season after a string of knee and metatarsal injuries. Woodgate spread his injuries around with back, hernia, groin, and thigh complaints.
At left-back, it has to be Rob Jones. Part of the Liverpool squad in the mid-nineties, the defender was described by Steve McManaman as one of the best defenders he had ever played with, and won eight caps for England. Sadly he was forced to retire at just 27 back in 1999 after failing to recover from a knee injury.
Sicknote Anderton, the most legendary injury-prone player, enjoyed a long career playing for Portsmouth, Spurs, Birmingham, Wolves and Bournemouth but not without spending large spells on the sidelines with injuries to his hernia, groin, Achilles, and knee.
The former England midfielder managed to earn himself an impressive 30 caps for his country, scoring 7 goals along the way – remarkable for a player who’s injury record often stole the limelight from his cultured right foot.
On the opposite flank, another former England starlet is Kieron Dyer who impressed as a youngster for West Ham and later on at Newcastle United.
However, the midfielder who had shown so much promise failed to fulfil his England ambitions due to his unfortunate injuries – a recurrent hamstring problem, compounded by knee and leg fragilities saw him virtually disappear off the radar for months at a time.
In the centre of my convenient 4-4-2 system, are Owen Hargreaves, and Jamie Redknapp, who were undoubtedly two of England’s most technically gifted players. Former Liverpool ‘Spice-Boy” Redknapp possessed great ability to score shooting from distance but a recurrent knee injury saw his career cruelly cut short.
Canadian-born Hargreaves played the majority of his football for Bayern Munich, where he demonstrated excellent dribbling capabilities and enjoyed crossing in to the box. But, in recent years, both hamstring and knee complaints have seen him move as a free transfer twice, as clubs cut their losses on his wage bill.
Up front and spearheading what would have been a dangerous attack, had they remained fit, are Michael Owen and Dean Ashton who, between them, crocked their hamstring, ankle, groin, knee, and metatarsal.
Golden boy Owen looked to be England’s brightest star playing in the 1998 World Cup, as an 18 year old – then England’s youngest ever player at just 18 years and 59 days of age.
Line-up: Kirkland, Brown, Woodgate, King, Jones, Anderton, Dyer, Hargreaves, Redknapp, Owen, Ashton.
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